A woman has been left paralysed after dismissing her illness as a simple cold.
Danielle McGuinness had been suffering from a bad cough and sickness for a number of weeks, but had put it down to having a cold.
It was only when she began to lose feeling in her hands and legs, hours before jetting off on a long-haul holiday, that she realised something was seriously wrong.
The 29-year-old was rushed to hospital where she deteriorated quickly and was soon told that she had Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare and serious condition that affects the nerves.
Danielle had been to see her doctor before things got so bad, but he said her symptoms were caused by anxiety because of her looming holiday.
After her diagnosis, Danielle was placed in a medically-induced coma because the illness was attacking her lungs. When she woke up in intensive care she was paralyzed from the head down and couldn’t even speak.
‘I had some cold symptoms through Christmas and New Year,’ says Danielle.
‘I had a really bad cough and I was throwing up but I was thinking, “just keep going to work because you’re off for a month.” You never think these things are as serious as they are.
‘I was lying in a bed for 11 weeks so my muscles wasted away,’
‘I had to learn how to do everything again, how to brush my hair, how to sit up — like a baby.’
After weeks of grueling physiotherapy, Danielle finally started to get better, but a relapse followed by a gallbladder condition, landed her back in hospital last month.
‘I want to know what caused this, why this happened to me, why I’m the one in 50,000 but, I don’t know if I ever will,’ she says.
‘It’s definitely not put me off traveling, I see it as a journey I have to complete.
‘I’m a pretty positive person, although this has tested me, but if I can help someone else see there’s another side to this condition, it’ll be worth it.’
Danielle now plans to write a book about her experience to help other people with the condition, and she wants to finally complete her planned trip across Asia.
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